Long list for The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries announced

  • 27 February 2009

A new museum telling the story of Wedgwood - the 250-year-old world-renowned pottery company - has been long-listed for the UK's largest single arts prize, The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries. The news is announced just weeks after the company Waterford Wedgwood went into administration against the backdrop of the world-wide credit crunch.

The Wedgwood Museum in Stoke-on-Trent has reached the ten-strong long list alongside a Scarborough museum which brings to life the history of English geology in an inspiring seaside setting, and a County Antrim arts centre and museum exploring the history of the area up to its famously troubled modern times. For the first time England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are represented on the long list, selected following deliberations by a high profile judging panel including acclaimed film-maker David Puttnam and artist Grayson Perry.

The ten long-listed museums and galleries are:

The Braid: Arts Centre and Mid-Antrim Museum, Ballymena, Co Antrim
Named after the river that runs through Ballymena and as a tribute to the local flax linen industry, this £20 million new museum, arts centre and exhibition space explores the history of the region from prehistoric to its more troubled recent history.

The Centre of New Enlightenment at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
Kelvingrove reaches the long list for the second time for its new programme of educational events and experiences for young people, which draws inspiration from the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment and uses the museum’s collections to inspire young people to discover how to become the heroes of tomorrow.

Outside the Box at the Museum of Reading
The Museum of Reading is entrusting the local community with its precious objects, as more than 20,000 objects from the museum’s collections have been packed into more than 1,500 boxes, loaned out to hundreds of schools, colleges, care homes, libraries, and local community groups.

Scotland: A Changing Nation at National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh
Scotland: A Changing Nation explores five major themes affecting life in Scotland from the First World War to the present day, including war, industry, daily life, social change and immigration, and celebrates Scottish achievement.

National Trust Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire
This newly rejuvenated museum offers the rare chance for kids big and small to get hands on with its collections in this museum set in the 19th century servants’ wing of 17th century Sudbury Hall.

Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham
Orleans House Gallery has been transformed from a group of decaying buildings into a thriving and inspirational community hub for heritage, arts and learning, with regularly-changing contemporary and historical exhibitions alongside its permanent collection.

Rotunda – The William Smith Museum of Geology, Scarborough
One of the oldest surviving purpose-built museums in the country, the beautiful 1800s Rotunda building houses exhibits which have rekindled Scarborough’s pride and passion for one of her most significant adoptive sons, William Smith, ‘the father of English geology’.

Ruthin Craft Centre: The Centre for the Applied Arts, Denbighshire
As the most important gallery for contemporary craft in Wales, the stunning new building designed by award-winning architects Sergison Bates hosts contemporary crafts from major collections around the world and at home.

The Sackler Centre for arts education at the V&A, London
One of the most innovative museum education spaces in the world, the Centre helps visitors develop practical creative skills inspired by the museum’s many exhibits and practices, including digital media, advertising, fashion and home decoration.

Wedgwood Museum, Stoke-on-Trent
Housed on the historic manufacturing site of Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Limited the Wedgwood Museum celebrates the art of ceramics at its finest, with visitors able to see not just pots but a range of manuscripts, documentation, correspondence, factory equipment, original models and fine art. The Wedgwood Museum is operationally and financially independent from the Waterford Wedgwood company.

These ten museums and galleries compete for the £100,000 prize, which is awarded to the museum or gallery whose project demonstrates the most originality, imagination and excellence.

This is the second year that The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity has sponsored this major arts prize, which is open to all accredited museums and galleries in the UK. The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries recognises and stimulates originality and excellence in museums and galleries and aims to increase public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer.

David Puttnam, Chair of the Judges comments: “This year’s long list will take the judges across the length and breadth of the country and there really is something for everyone, with museums and galleries exploring subjects as diverse as ceramics, crafts, geology and toys. These projects have all made an impact in their local areas during their first year of opening, and we are sure that the high standards they have set will make our judging a difficult task.”

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, comments: “All the long listed museums and galleries have shown exceptional creativity and ambition. They have made excellent use of new technology, architecture and innovative displays to enable their visitors to get the most out of their collections and exhibitions. The Art Fund is proud to support this, the largest arts prize in the UK.”

Following judges’ visits, four museums and galleries will be short-listed and announced in April. The winner of the £100,000 prize will be announced on Thursday 18 June at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.

The 2009 judging panel comprises:

· David Puttnam (chair), film-maker and educationalist
· Robert Crawford, former Director General of the Imperial War Museum
· Sally Osman, communications consultant and former Director of Communications at the BBC
· Grayson Perry, Turner Prize-winning artist
· Mathematician and author Marcus du Sautoy
· Maggie Semple, Chief Executive of The Experience Corps
· Journalist and broadcaster Mary Ann Sieghart

Last year’s winner was The Lightbox museum and gallery in Woking. Previous winners include Pallant House Gallery in Chichester (2007), Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol (2006), Big Pit: National Mining Museum of Wales, Blaenafon (2005), The Scottish Gallery of Modern Art for Landform - part sculpture, part garden, part land-art - by Charles Jencks (2004), and the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law at the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham (2003).

For more information please visit: www.artfundprize.org.uk

For more press information, please contact Iliana Taliotis, Kate Wright-Morris or Sarah Watson at Colman Getty on: T: 020 7631 2666
E : Iliana@colmangetty.co.uk / kate@colmangetty.co.uk / sarah@colmangetty.co.uk

Notes to editors:

· The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries is administered by the Museum Prize, a charitable company created in 2002 by The Art Fund, the Campaign for Museums, the Museums Association and National Heritage. Its trustees are Penelope, Viscountess Cobham (Chair), James Bishop (National Heritage), Ylva French (Campaign for Museums), Mark Taylor (Museums Association), Sam Mullins (London Transport Museum), Sandy Nairne (National Portrait Gallery), James Naughtie and Eleanor Updale.

· The Museum Prize is registered as a company in England and Wales No. 421870 and a charity No. 1093174. Registered Office: 24 Calvin Street, London E1 6NW.

· The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. Recent achievements include: helping secure Titian’s Diana and Actaeon for the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery, London in February 2009 with a grant of £1 million; helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit www.artfund.org. The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174